Sansa Stark: Don’t Underestimate This Girl

**SPOILERS** DO NOT READ ON UNLESS YOU HAVE WATCHED UP TO SEASON 4 

In a land where bloodshed is rife, beheadings are the norm, and attendance at a wedding is practically a death sentence, the writers of Game of Thrones (yes that includes George R.R. Martin himself) could have easily taken the sexist route by having its female characters fall apart in this misogynistic medieval world, forcing them to become mere chess pieces in a male-dominated political game. They did not choose this route. Instead, in what is perhaps its most revered and compelling aspect, Game of Thrones is brimming with women who challenge their medieval conventions and constraints with their determination and strength, becoming formidable opponents to both men and women alike.

When we think of GoT‘s headstrong females, our mind is immediately occupied with images of Daenerys ‘Khaleesi’ Targaryen who is marching towards Westeros with a small company of loyal dragons, an army of 8000 highly skilled soldiers, and 3 men who are completely at her mercy. Or how about the impressive Brienne of Tarth ? The 6ft 3″ blonde warrior could even give the beloved Hound a run for his money in a duel. Not to mention Theon Greyjoy’s sister, Yara Greyjoy, the commander of the Iron Islands’ entire naval fleet, who, as we saw in last week’s episode, is pretty handy with an axe.

GoT Women

Yes, these female characters reject the stereotypical forms of feminism, for these women are physically well-built, display signs of overt masculinity, and are clearly uncomfortable when faced with ideals of femininity, favouring chainmail and steel over dresses and flowers. However, what is so great about this show is that the writers have not simply put a woman in a suit of armour, shoved a sword in her hand and said, ‘Hey look feminists ! We’ve challenged social expectations – our women don’t sew or cook, they fight and kill in battle !’ No. There are in fact many female characters in GoT whose lack of physical prowess and skill in battle is more than made up for with their cutting wit, subtle astuteness, and unparalleled intelligence. I mean, I would not want to be on the receiving end of Lady Olenna Tyrell’s sharp tongue, nor would I want to be caught in the middle of a political mind game between the menacing Cersei Lannister and the devious Margaery Tyrell !

GoT Women 2

I have recently introduced two of my friends to the Game of Thrones universe, and when I remarked to them about all the strong females in the show, they both said ‘Yes. Well, except for Sansa.’ Yes, sadly, whenever someone is asked who their favourite GoT character is, poor old Sansa Stark rarely makes the top of the list. However, having been a loyal fan of the books and an avid watcher of the television series from the very beginning, I can comfortably say that by Season 4, the beautiful Sansa has made it into my top 5 favourite characters to watch, and is, I believe, one of the strongest female characters on the show.

Sansa Stark

Ah there she is. With her stunning red hair, flawless bone structure, and beautiful physique, Sansa is the epitome of the perfect Lady of Westeros. She looks far too fragile to survive in such a brutal world as the one she lives in. The fact that her sister is Arya Stark doesn’t help her image. If you compare the two side by side, there is no doubting that Arya is the obvious choice when it comes to who is the most spirited and resilient – I mean, the girl is only 11 years old yet she can already wield a sword AND she’s killed THREE people with it ! Even when we are first introduced to the sisters in Season 1, Episode 1, we see Sansa happily enjoying her embroidery classes whilst Arya sneaks out to play bow and arrows with the Stark boys. If that isn’t juxtaposition then I don’t know what is. Okay, I admit it, even I was frustrated with Sansa at first; throughout Season 1, all she did was moan about how ‘Southern’ she wanted her hair to look, stuffed her face with lemon cakes, and spent her time daydreaming about marrying a handsome knight and being rescued from her wintery tower, all whilst rejecting her Northern roots, practically disowning her family, and pining after the psychotic Prince Joffrey. Yes, at first, Sansa seemed the stock ‘Damsel in Distress’ character, incapable of doing anything for herself or processing any thought which didn’t consist of pretty princes or gorgeous gowns.

Sansa Stark

However, we are currently on Season 4, and in that time Lords have been beheaded, Commanders have been exiled, Kings have been poisoned, and, yet, Sansa Stark remains. She is the Lone Wolf in the Lion’s Den (Starks vs. Lannisters reference incase you didn’t know….), but has so far managed to emerge with all her body parts intact – surely we have to give a teenage girl credit for such an impressive feat ! Seven Hells, even the brilliant Tyrion Lannister has felt the sting of the Lion’s claws, leaving him with a scar he will carry forever. Still, poor Sansa has had to withstand a lot of mental suffering during her stay at King’s Landing – she witnessed her father’s beheading, suffered abuse and humiliation at the hand of our dearly departed Joffers, was forced to marry Tyrion ‘the Dwarf’ Lannister, and silently endured the death of both her mother and her brother. Did she scream ? Did she run ? Did she drop kick Joffrey in the face ? Or call Cersei an evil, miserable bitch ? No. Sansa has never ceased to be anything but ladylike, graceful, and polite, but it’s not because she’s too brainless to do anything else, but because she understands that this is the only way to survive.

Brienne of Tarth once told Catelyn Stark that she had courage, ‘Not battle courage perhaps but, I don’t know, a kind of woman’s courage.’ This is exactly what Sansa has – her hopes and dreams may have been ripped to shreds and fallen to pieces around her, but she slowly learns to use her femininity to her advantage, wearing her innocence and naivety as her battle armour. Like Tyrion once said to Jon Snow: ‘Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.’ So Sansa Stark sits prettily in her little cage, repeating her curtseys, and singing like a little dove, but she endures. She learns how to play the game of thrones, and has blossomed into one of its leading participants, unlike so many of her other female comrades who have been eliminated (Ros the Whore, Catelyn Stark, Lysa Arryn, Talisa).

So there we have it. Sansa Stark is not a warrior, she is not a soldier, she is not a killer, she is not a rebel. But she is a survivor. Personally, I truly believe that eventually Sansa will be the one to reclaim Winterfell in the name of her father and House Stark. I mean, Bran’s off beyond the Wall messing around with direwolves, three-eyed ravens and strange blonde-haired boys, Jon Snow is a loyal brother of the Night’s Watch, and Arya, whilst a complete bad-ass, is slightly out of control. It’s all down to Sansa. LONG LIVE SANSA !

Sansa Stark

Also, the way Sansa bitch-slapped her ridiculously annoying cousin Robin in the latest episode was applause-worthy. 

 

10 Reasons Why You MUST Watch ‘Game of Thrones’

So my last post, which hinted at a very fabulous drawing-inspired post-to-come, is taking a little longer than I expected. As you can probably tell by my ever so detailed sketch, drawing is not my forte, but the drawings I’m working on are something I’ve wanted to do for ages so I’m going to continue with it, and hopefully you’ll all be able to see the outcome in a few days time 🙂

Alas, to fill the void I’m sure you’re all feeling, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to a television series that I’m certain is close to all of your hearts…..GAME.OF.THRONES.!!!!

Unless you’ve literally, and I mean literally, been living under a rock since 2011, you should at least be vaguely aware of HBO’s Game of Thrones based on George R. R. Martin’s fictional fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire (I’ll not even venture to question why you haven’t watched it. The shock of someone not even witnessing one episode is too much for my heart to bear).

Admittedly, the series on first glance seems a bit daunting – the sheer size of the cast whose characters’ interwoven plot lines are set against a backdrop of beheadings, torture, prostitutes, and revenge points towards one word: INTENSE. Not to mention that it does appear perhaps too much inclined towards the fantasy angle – here there be Dragons who can destroy and conquer Kingdoms quicker than The Hobbit’s Smaug can roast a Dwarf, and the land is coated with vast castles, most of which would make Hogwarts literally look like a lego set. For someone like my friend Antonia, who feels physically sick at the mention of anything medieval or fantastical (such as the word ‘goblet’….), it’s understandable why something like Game of Thrones would send her, and those like her, running into the syrupy sweet arms of Glee, or into the fashion-forward, retro world of Mad Men.

However, despite a thick layer of fantasy spread onto an over-stuffed cake of blood, sex, incest, murder, and politics, Game of Thrones is most definitely a sweet treat that you won’t get sick of in a hurry; if you can will yourself to power through the first couple of episodes, which do require a certain level of patience (not to mention a strong stomach), you’ll likely find yourself taking BuzzFeed’s ‘Which Game of Thrones Character are you ?’ or ‘Which Game of Thrones House Do You Belong In ?’ the very next day.

So, for you GoT lovers out there, I’ve compiled a list to remind you why you love this series so much, and for you GoT virgins (shame on you !), this list is to show you exactly what you’re missing out on. Everyone needs a slice of the Game of Thrones cake, even if your slice does taste a little like blood and incest.

#1 – Hot Men (This is definitely the most important reason) 

ImageRobb Stark

#2 – It’s got it’s priorities in order

Cersei DrinkWine gif

#3 – It teaches you very valuable life lessons

Bronn

#4 – The Hair

Cersei Hair Daenerys Hair Daario Hair

#5 – Jerome Flynn from 90s pop duo ‘Robson & Jerome’ is in it. And he’s very witty. 

Bronn Quote Robson & Jerome

#6 – The Opening Credits 

#7 – Strong, bad-ass women

BIJvD7NCYAA-ySrAryaDany Quote

#8 – Did I mention the hot men ?

Jaime Gif Daario newRenly

#9 – Violence, violence, violence

POYTJoust Death

#10 – PETER DINKLAGE/TYRION LANNISTER

Tyrion